Little Fuzzy vs Fuzzy Nation

May 9, 2013

I recently finished reading Little Fuzzy and Fuzzy Nation together. The contrast between the two is interesting. Little Fuzzy was written in 1962 by H. Beam Piper and nominated for the Best Novel Hugo in 1963 which it lost to Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.  Fuzzy Nation is a reboot of Little Fuzzy written by John Scalzi and released in 2011.

The two, LF and FN, are very different books.  The original was only 118 pages and FN is nearly 3 times as long at 368 pages, so Scalzi’s story is much more complex.  In LF, the characters are one-dimensional.  Scalzi’s Holloway is a complex character with lots of layers and motivations.    Piper tends to use the info dump method of exposition, while Scalzi is more subtle.  Scalzi strained a little to get Little Fuzzy to have a skill he wanted him to have by the end of the book. I think Piper’s development of the Fuzzy language was more effective.  Some of the differences may also be due to the difference in eras when written.  I seem to remember that things were much more black and white in the 60’s.  We are more aware of the shades of gray now.

I enjoyed both books very much, but FN was more engaging.  LF toward the end was very predictable.

Piper and others wrote sequels to Little Fuzzy that I have not tracked down.